Been through it
I had the surgery in September of 2009 for a relatively large anterior labral tear (about 1 cm long). My surgeon was Dr. Scott Martin at Brigham and Women's Hospital - one of the best orthopedic surgeons for hip scopes. I've heard horror stories of people getting the surgery done and then having to go back in months later to have the scope re-done because the first procedure was unsuccessful or simply ineffective. Since my surgery I have had a few setbacks in my recovery but I have not had to go back in for another surgery. My joint was a mess because of all of the running I had done in my first two years of college but Dr. Martin did an amazing job. I HIGHLY recommend him if you can get an appointment with him. I also heard that Dr. McCarthy at MGH is very good as well. Be very careful with who you chose for this surgery. Hip scopes are pretty uncommon and most surgeons are very inexperienced.
The cause of my tear was femoroacetabular impingement (pincer). I have it in both hips but it was much worse on the left side. Dr. Martin shaved the bone down ever so slightly to prevent re-occurence of a tear which is key.
I'm going ot be honest.. the surgery is a tough one. Since it is rare most PTs dont know how to properly rehab patients that undergo repairs. But if you are debating on whether or not to do the surgery in general I would 100% say that you should go for it. Cartilage is (for the most part) not vascularized and relies on simple diffusion to obtain nutrients for tissue repair. As a result the tear will not heal on its own. You can get an intra-articular cortisone injection to get rid of the inflammation in the joint but the tear will still be there and when you start running again the pain will simply come back (of course the severity of the pain depends on the extent of the tear).
In terms of rehab, it is ridiculously slow - I won't lie. You also need to expect a few setbacks here or there. In general though, the things that I have learned are to really stick to your strengthening program. If you slack AT ALL in your strengthening you will sincerely regret it. I am proof of that.
let me know if you have any more questions. I've learned a lot in the past few years battling this injury and I'd be happy to share more of my experience or to give advice.